Amherst of­fers 129 prospec­tive clinic sites

Gives 2nd set of op­tions amid methadone dis­pute

The Buffalo News - - CITY&REGION - By Stephen T. Wat­son

The Town of Amherst has sug­gested 129 new po­ten­tial sites for a methadone clinic as al­ter­na­tives to the con­tro­ver­sial 910 Miller­sport High­way lo­ca­tion where Catholic Health wants to pro­vide med­i­ca­tion-as­sisted treat­ment to pa­tients. But it’s not clear whether any of the al­ter­na­tive lo­ca­tions will meet the sys­tem’s needs.

Su­per­vi­sor Barry A. We­in­stein said the town in­cluded the lo­ca­tions in the map that it sent to Catholic Health on Fri­day. This is the sec­ond time Amherst has come up with a map of al­ter­na­tive sites to try to steer the sys­tem away from its plan to open the clinic at 910 Miller­sport, a lo­ca­tion op­posed by town of­fi­cials and res­i­dents on nearby North Ivy­hurst Road.

Catholic Health of­fi­cials said the first list of 62 lo­ca­tions that the town sent in June, many of which were grouped into five gen­eral sites, did not fit the sys­tem’s cri­te­ria for a clinic site.

The sys­tem had set a dead­line of July 14 for the town to send more sites. We­in­stein said 20 of the 129 new sites match Catholic Health’s stan­dards for lo­ca­tion, ac­cess to pub­lic trans­porta­tion, size and park­ing.

Catholic Health wants its new clinic site to re­main within the same 14226 ZIP code, or within a mile, of its cur­rent drug treat­ment clinic at 3730 Sheridan Drive be­cause that al­lows the sys­tem to ask the state Health De­part­ment for a lim­ited re­view of its ap­pli­ca­tion to move the clinic to 910 Miller­sport. Catholic Health does not pro­vide med­i­ca­tion-as­sisted treat­ment at the Sheridan Drive site.

As of late Fri­day, Catholic Health of­fi­cials were just be­gin­ning to re­view the map of al­ter­na­tive clinic sites that Amherst sent them and it was too soon to as­sess them, said JoAnn Ca­vanaugh, a spokes­woman for the health sys­tem. The 129 sites were not iden­ti­fied by ad­dress or build­ing name on the map the town sent to Catholic Health.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, We­in­stein said he has writ­ten to State Health Com­mis­sioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker to urge him to re­ject Catholic Health’s ap­pli­ca­tion for a cer­tifi­cate of need to op­er­ate the clinic on Miller­sport. We­in­stein cited “mis­lead­ing” in­for­ma­tion in the ap­pli­ca­tion and “in­tense neigh­bor­hood op­po­si­tion.”

We­in­stein said the ap­pli­ca­tion re­ferred to the po­si­tions of chair­man and vice chair­man of the Town Board, which do not ex­ist, and pur­ported to show sup­port for the clinic from the Town Board that went far be­yond what mem­bers had said at the time.

Ca­vanaugh de­clined to com­ment on We­in­stein’s let­ter. The Health De­part­ment is con­tin­u­ing to re­view the ap­pli­ca­tion.

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